In sports there are few things that capture the excitement of two teams that legitimately hate each other battling over bragging rights.
In Cleveland we are bred to grow up hating anything and everything Pittsburgh or Michigan. Everywhere else, everyone grows up hating the Yankees, that is, unless you are from New York.
In Erie there are two types of hate and they are hate for Gannon University or hate for Mercyhurst College. It just depends where you stand.
This weekend on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12 p.m., this rivalry will be in full swing at Tullio Field.
Now let us compare these schools and teams a little bit.
Gannon is a school in the middle of the city of Erie, while Mercyhurst sits on a palatial hill maintained by an army of workers and a war chest of money provided from students like you.
Now if you wanted to go to a school in the city I would have gone to New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or Boston, not downtown Erie. I score this one for Mercyhurst, I’ll take our extravagantly maintained ground any day; I mean, what am I paying for anyways?
Academics are a big part of any college, or so they say. Gannon offers a “Core of Discovery and Lifecore,” I may need a degree just to attempt to wrap my mind around their “core,” while at Mercyhurst we offer a core curriculum in something called “liberal arts.” I again score this one for Mercyhurst. I will take an education at a college that doesn’t already confuse me with their core names, plus where else can you get a degree in Intelligence Studies?
Now it comes time for the all important match up, the football game this weekend.
Mercyhurst comes into the game with a 3-3 record while Gannon has a 2-4 record.
While the records seem close, Gannon’s only two wins came against Lake Erie College, a team even my beloved Browns could beat and only in their third year of existence, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, a team the Lakers shellacked, 45-15.
The Lakers have faced three opponents who were nationally ranked at one point in time and managed to beat one of those opponents, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The Knights do not faze the Lakers; in fact, this weekend’s game is not even that big to them because the Lakers are looking to stay in “the hunt” for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title, a bigger task than the lowly Knights can provide them.
“A victory is very important because it would keep us ‘in the hunt’ for the conference championship and it gets (us) back in the win column,” head coach Marty Schaltzle said.
With all of this in mind, I see the Lakers winning and winning big as the Laker’s stifling defense, averaging 17.2 points against per game, will suffocate the Knight’s offense. The Lakers will also torch the Knight’s porous defense, averaging 32.8 points against.
The Lakers should look to increase their series lead to 9-3-1 over the Knights and make all of its Laker faithful realize it is not proud or right to be a Knight.